Butt Out – Illinois EPA Looking at Improper Disposal of Vaping Products

While the recent focus on electronic cigarettes and vaping products has been on their potential health effects on users, the Illinois EPA is looking at a potential new issue – the improper disposal of their waste products.

A team at the Illinois EPA is developing methods to prevent toxic materials in discarded e-cigarettes and vaping products from polluting the environment and damaging human health. E-cigarettes and vaping products contain numerous materials, each with various waste regulations. E-cigarettes, which are disposable and closely resemble a traditional …

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Millions for Peaches: Peach Farmers Awarded $265 Million in Dicamba Lawsuit

A southeast Missouri jury has awarded a peach farm $265 million in damages after a three-week trial in federal court. The lawsuit, filed by Bader Farms, alleged Monsanto and BASF are to blame for extensive damage to its peach farm because their dicamba-based herbicides drifted onto its orchards from neighboring fields.

Bader Farms’ attorney argued that the companies created a joint venture, and “conspired to create an ecological disaster” to increase profits on dicamba-tolerant seeds. Monsanto and BASF denied those allegations and claimed that the …

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Legislators Assemble! North Carolina and Illinois Move to Enact PFAS Regulations

So far in 2020, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) proposed a maximum concentration level in groundwater for two PFAS compounds, while the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency released proposed draft amendments to its groundwater standards, including standards for a wide range of PFAS compounds. North Carolina’s and Illinois’ actions join prior efforts at legislation in other states, including Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont.

The NC DEQ is proposing a maximum concentration of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS and …

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Less is Less? Illinois EPA sees Trend of Budget and Staff Reductions Leading to Reduction in Enforcement Actions

In 2003, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had over 1,200 employees, including engineers, chemists, biologists, and attorneys. Last year, that number had been reduced to 639, according to a new report.

“Protecting Illinois EPA’s Health, so that It Can Protect Ours,” published by the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic staff, documents reductions in staff and budget cuts at the state agency over the last 15 years. The report also details a decline in air pollution inspections, water quality monitoring, and enforcement actions.

The report claims that …

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Colorless Haze? Carcinogenic Gas Found at Monitoring Sites in 16 Cities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new data regarding the concentrations of ethylene oxide, a colorless and carcinogenic gas, found in metropolitan areas throughout the country. That data shows that the highest concentrations can be found in Phoenix, Arizona, followed closely by Chicago, Illinois, Calvert City, Kentucky, and Chester, New Jersey.

Ethylene oxide is an industrial compound most commonly used to produce other chemicals or as a sterilizing agent for medical instruments. The EPA released the data as part of an ongoing effort …

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We Need to Talk … It’s Not Me, It’s You: EPA Accuses California of Worsening Environmental Issues

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has accused California of “failing to meet its obligations” to protect the environment, claiming that the state’s growing homeless population threatens its water quality. In an oversight letter, Administrator Wheeler charged California officials with failing to meet federal health standards in numerous communities where large homeless populations litter the streets with trash, drug paraphernalia and human waste. The letter went on to argue that California’s focus on global warming has come at the expense of more basic environmental protections. Specifically, the …

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Two Strikes – Medical Equipment Cleaning Facility Hit with Over 30 Lawsuits, While its Doors Remain Closed by State Regulators

Over 30 personal injury lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics LLC in Cook County, Illinois. The suits are the latest development in the company’s issues arising out of claims its medical equipment cleaning plant emits harmful fumes.

Jeanne Hochhalter is one of those suing Sterigenics. She claims that the cancer she developed is directly related to the plant’s release of the chemical ethylene oxide.

“I got breast cancer. I have no family history of it,” Hochhalter said.

A Sterigenics spokesman said the company “has consistently …

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Lead Alert: Unapproved Water Additive Leads to Lead Contamination in Chicago Suburb

Illinois has filed suit against a company that provides water to a Chicago suburb after it made changes to the chemical additives in the water supply without permission from state regulators. The suit goes on to allege that the change caused lead to contaminate the village’s drinking water.

The problems started in 2017 when Aqua Illinois switched the source of the village’s water from groundwater wells to the Kankakee River. The suit alleges a chemical added to the water system to address resident’s complaints about …

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Three Steps Forward, Three Steps Back- California Moves Forward With Legislation to Adopt Overturned Federal Regulations

In a move that seems tailor-made to create additional litigation, California legislators are considering legislation that would automatically adopt any federal environmental regulations that are weakened or eliminated by the federal government.

“SB 1 ensures clean air, clean water, endangered species, and worker safety standards that have been in place for as long as 50 years are not rolled back as a result of the anti-environment actions of the president and Congress,” Toni Atkins, Senate president pro tem, said in a statement accompanying the legislation.…

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Summer of Discontent – EPA looks to eliminate California Air Resources Board

Despite an effort by the automotive industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to finalize a proposal that would freeze fuel economy standards at roughly 37 miles per gallon for the next six years, rather than raising them to nearly 51 miles per gallon for 2025 models. The rule would also revoke California’s existing waiver to set its own rules under the Clean Air Act, a practice the federal government has allowed for decades.

“As we acknowledged earlier this year, California Air Resources Board …

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